Providers rescue carbon offset quality standard
Carbon trading news – by GreenWise staff
14th July 2011
Following the closure of the Government’s carbon offsetting Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) a small group of carbon offset providers have come together to launch an independent version of the standard.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced in May that it was closing the QAS
, citing "disappointingly low" take-up of the carbon offsetting
scheme as the main reason for the closure.
Four carbon offset retailers that were accredited under the QAS are planning to create a new independently administered standard in a bid to signpost consumers and businesses to quality offsets.
"We are currently writing up the criteria for an independent third party administrator of the scheme and we will launch it as soon as possible," said Jane Burston, of Carbon Retirement, one of the retailers accredited under the defunct QAS.
The QAS was launched in 2009 to assure the public and businesses where they could purchase quality offsets, however, because the scheme only approved carbon credits that could be traded on the compliance markets it failed to attract sufficient numbers of offset providers. The majority of carbon offset retailers trade verified emission reduction credits, designed specifically for the voluntary carbon offset market rather than the compliance market which covers the European Emissions Trading Scheme and the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.
The four UK offset providers that met the QAS standard, which include Carbon Retirement, Clear, Pure and Carbon Footprint, said they had Government support to launch an independent standard and said it would adhere to the strict requirements of the QAS. These include using best practice methods for calculating carbon footprints, making pricing transparent, ensuring full auditability of the offset process and buying only high-quality offset credits.
"PURE signed up to the original scheme because of our commitment to the highest standards in offsetting. We’re committed to ensuring we help to maintain those high standards," said Robert Rabinowitz, company secretary of Pure.
The providers said they were also talking to businesses that had signed up to offset their carbon through the scheme and were hopeful they would continue to use the scheme under its new guise. They include British Airways and E.ON.
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